Raycom is building a new digital duopoly in Albany, GA with a deal to launch an ABC affiliate to complement its existing NBC station, WALB-TV. The market had not previously had an affiliate of the Alphabet Network, so this raises the ABC affiliate count to 240.
Fans of “Dancing with the Stars,” Desperate Housewives” and “Good Morning America” in DMA #147 previously had to watch distant stations from Columbus, GA, Atlanta, GA or Tallahassee, FL. Beginning in early 2011 they will have a local outlet carrying ABC programming.
CBS will remain on WALB’s Channel 10.1, while This TV will move to 10.3 to open 10.2 for the new ABC station.
WALB 10.2 will broadcast local news coverage for the market three times a day leading into the network programs “Good Morning America,” “World News” and “Nightline.”
“We are looking forward to a strong distribution relationship with WALB 10.2 in Albany,” said John Rouse, senior vice president, Affiliate Relations, ABC Television Network. “This will mark our sixth ABC affiliation with Raycom Media, a valued media ally in delivering exceptional programming to local markets.”
“With WALB 10.2 we are looking forward to further serving the viewers and communities of the Albany DMA by providing them a local outlet for ABC programming, combined with our award-winning news coverage,” said Raycom CEO Paul McTear.
Jim Wilcox, vice president and general manager of WALB, spoke of the changes coming with the second Big Four affiliate. “Our new affiliation with ABC will greatly strengthen the station’s commitment to Albany and South Georgia by improving our news, public outreach and advertising services. For the first time the market will have a local newscast at 7:00 p.m., and area businesses, groups and services will have the opportunity to insert local advertising in ABC programming,” Wilcox said. According to a story on the station’s website, Wilcox will be adding some syndicated fare not currently airing in Albany to the new ABC station, but those programming announcements are to come later.
Raycom Media owns/operates 46 television stations in 36 markets and 18 states, covering 12.6% of US television households.